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World's Fastest Camera Captures 4.4 Trillion Frames Per Second 94

Diggester writes Japanese researchers have recently designed a motion picture camera which is capable of capturing 4.4 trillion frames per second, making it the fastest camera in the world. The technique that allows for such speed is called STAMP (sequentially timed all-optical mapping photography). The research paper, published in the journal Nature Photonics has the full details.
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World's Fastest Camera Captures 4.4 Trillion Frames Per Second

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  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Thursday August 14, 2014 @07:46PM (#47674445) Homepage Journal

    If it's possible to play this back at 24 FPS, we can shoot that 3 minute homemade porn we've always wanted!
  • by Morpeth ( 577066 ) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @07:49PM (#47674475)

    but does it go to 11 ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2014 @07:56PM (#47674527)

    This technology sounds totally cool. I'd like to see them use it to take pictures of somebody viewing the shitty Slashdot Beta site. They could capture the user's extreme boredom as this user waits for the shitty Beta site's page and all its shitty JavaScript and CSS crap to initially load. Then they could capture the trillionth of a second when the person notices that it's the shitty Beta site rather than the Classic site, and the person's anger starts to grow. The photos would progressively show the anger turning into madness, and then finally utter and complete disappointment and despair once the shitty Beta site has finally loaded. The photos could also capture the formation and flow of the very first of many teardrops to cascade down this poor victim's cheeks as the user struggles in vain to read the stories' small text with poor contrast. These trillions upon trillions of frames of total anguish could be examined in excruciating detail, so the awful nature of the Slashdot Beta site could be truly comprehended.

    • Hahaha if I had mod points ,they'd be all your sir! Classic comment (as opposed to shitty beta comment)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    At 4.4 trillion frames a second, playing back one second of footage at 24fps would take over 5,580 years.

  • designed a motion picture camera which is capable of ... 450 x 450 pixel pictures

    I guess if you're targeting a 320x240 device, that counts... otherwise, not so much.

    ( 450x450 is still pretty impressive at that frame rate. )

  • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:08PM (#47674599)

    Picosecond resolution... ....only 30 or so more zeros until we hit one frame per plank time.

  • Some details (Score:5, Informative)

    by JerryLove ( 1158461 ) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:08PM (#47674601)

    First FTA: There's a mention of a previous camera...
    "Back in 2011, researchers from MIT created a high-speed camera that captured light passing through an empty bottle in slow motion by acquiring visual data at one trillion frames a second – to the STAMP cam, more than four times faster than this, even the speed of light could be as stimulating as watching paint dry."

    That's misleading. The camera in 2011 didn't do amazingly high FPS capture. What it did have was very short capture with precise timing. That video of a laser moving through a bottle was actually thousands of successive laser shots. More like stop-motion than video.

    Now this camera I see fewer details on. I do see that one thing it seems to do is to divide a laser with a prism and use the separation to make virtual frames by using different receptors.

    Let me make an analogy. If you took a normal RGB color sensor from a camera, and exposed it, and during that exposure you fired a red flash, then a green flash than a blue flash one after the other. Take your resulting picture and break it into three by color and you have 3 "frames". They appear to be doing this with a large number of wavelengths.

  • by Earthquake Retrofit ( 1372207 ) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:20PM (#47674657) Journal
    It seems to me a camera ilke would be useful for viewing things that happen very quickly, for instance, particle collisions in an atom smasher.
    • After thinking about this for a beat, I went from "great idea" to "how in the hell would that work?" pretty quickly.

      I have admittedly not read the article, but if the camera captures photos, are there photons flying around in particle colliders just flying around bouncing off sub-atomic particles all over the place, enough to get a video of it all happening? I get the feeling photons don't interact with the particles much if at all, which is why now they can only see where they end up (trapped or puncture
    • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:53PM (#47674819)

      Most particle physics happens on much faster time scales than picoseconds. There is some slower physics but that can generally be measured by looking at the verticies where tracks diverge and calculating the time it too particles to get to those vertices.

      For measuring beams rather than the individual particle collisions we can use transverse deflection structures (a sort of streak-camera on steroids) to get to resolutions of a few femtoseconds.

      The original article is a nice technique, but whether it is the fastest depends on how you define "camera". It is probably the fastest for 2-d images, but there are much faster 1-d imagers.

    • It seems to me a camera like that would be useful for viewing things that happen very quickly, for instance, particle collisions in an atom smasher.

      the period during which a new politician is still honest and competent.
      the attention span of the average teenager.
      the length of time a non-staff member can use Beta before losing all faith in humanity.
      the length of time DRM prevents a non-crippled version appearing on TPB.
      a flash of lightning.

      At 4.4 trillions fps played back at 24 fps, the average lightning bolt would take 1.5 hours. I'm not sure the camera is fast enough to capture any of the others.

  • Still not enough for the Mythbusters.

    (On a more serious note though, how on Earth do they manage to store even a few microseconds of the footage from this beast?)

    • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @09:16PM (#47674905)

      (On a more serious note though, how on Earth do they manage to store even a few microseconds of the footage from this beast?)

      They don't. From the full paper:

      In our proof-of-principle demonstration, the total number of frames was limited to six due to our simple embodiment of the SMD (Supplementary Figs 3 and 4), but can be increased up to 100 by increasing the number of periscopes in the periscope array of the SMD or by using a more complex design (see Methods and Supplementary Section ‘Improvements in STAMP's specifications’)

      You can't just record an indefinite length movie with this thing, you basically need to alter the hardware to record longer segments (since it has different physical elements detect different frames of the signal).

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @09:01PM (#47674845)

    I mean, the speed of light is 299,792,458,000 Millimeters per second. Maybe I miscalculated something (I always get confused with the way the US names its powers of 10), but doesn't that mean that in 15 frames of this movie, light only moves for about a millimeter? Someone with more background in physics may shed some light onto this (no pun intended), but when you're dealing with stuff SO fast that it approaches the speed of light, isn't measuring and recording subject to the problem that you cannot transport information (and thus also the result of your experiment to the observing camera) faster than said speed of light?

    • by fisted ( 2295862 )

      I mean, the speed of light is 299,792,458,000 Meters per second.


    • by glwtta ( 532858 )

      Yup, I'm getting 0.06813 mm per frame.

      Pretty damn impressive, but then again, that thing apparently can only record 6 frames at a time, making the whole article misleading to the point of being complete bullshit.

    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

      Well, they don't transport anything anywhere with their solution. But, if you had a technology that could actually offload the data to bulk storage and thus operate "indefinitely" the speed of light would not create any problems whatsoever.

      Just send the data down a wire or fiber optic cable. Sure, the first byte will only travel a few mm before you have to send the second, but there is no law saying that you can only have one packet of data in the cable at a time. Speed of light impacts latency, not band

    • by thieh ( 3654731 )
      The system is at steady state (photons are already at the lens/detector) by the time you start, so when you do, you are taking the photons that are closest to your detectors first, whether they are in front of the lens or next to your detector. What I am interested in is that at trillions of frames per second where do you get hundreds of TB/s to PB/s of bandwidth between camera and storage? I do not recall stuffs you buy at a store go that fast.
    • If you have a trillion cameras all operating in sequence such that they are triggered exactly so one activates a trillionth of a second after the other, than you've got exactly the same information via speed of light as just one camera. The only question is how much light each device is sampling. The shorter the time window, the more sensitive the measurement of light.

      But I don't see any problem with speed of light; you are just sampling what hits the sensor at a faster rate.

      I'm just wondering who would sit

    • Red light is 430 trillion hertz. So about 100 red light waves per frame.
    • by jfengel ( 409917 )

      The scale they're trying to capture is far smaller than that: they want to capture molecules moving in a chemical reaction. They're moving much, much less than a millimeter.

      The speed of light isn't the problem there. The entire frame comes in to them at the speed of light, just as in an ordinary camera. The trick is being able to capture this frame and move on to the next one, which they do with a very clever beam-splitting setup. (I haven't gotten all the details yet, but I gather that it's like sending th

  • Stretch those femtoseconds into hours, nice...
  • high pixel resolution (450×450 pixels). []

    Will I need to update my TV to 4K to play it? Enough said.

    • high pixel resolution (450Ã--450 pixels) [..]
      Will I need to update my TV to 4K to play it?

      WTF? 450 x 450 is effectively sub-SD (640 x 480 or 720 x 576).

      Not that this is a criticism if one is shooting a mindboggling trillions of frames per second, but in terms of spatial resolution alone, it'd probably disappoint even on your existing HD set.

      Also, you'll probably complain that the high frame rate makes it look like a cheap soap opera and prefer it when they go back to 24 fps. ;-)

      In all seriousness, trillions of frames per second... WTF?! How does that even work? Modern CPUs operate in the low GHz

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        The concept is like a film camera. You capture the data first, and deal with it later. No CPU is involved in the actual collection of each frame, and they capture a VERY limited number of frames as a result.

        When they did bullet time in the first matrix movie they just lined up a whole bunch of cameras and triggered them at very short intervals. Each camera only recorded a single frame. You can collect/process the data later - the critical part was capturing the data. Most high-speed data collection wor

  • 1 second / 4.4 trillion * 3E8 m/s = 68 microns.

    That's the distance light covers between frames. Wow.

  • Pity this didn't exist during the days of atmospheric nuclear testing.

  • Finally something that can show us your mom falling on her ass in slow motion!

  • Will cream his pants, it can't be long before he will be using this to film the first 12 movies in the long overdue LOTR reboot.
  • It will take a long time to see that second!

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford